Various media outlets have stated that Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and Technical Director Edu Gasper met on several occasions to discuss their proposed transfer targets and that they had come up with a definitive master plan to propel Arsenal up the Premier League table in the next campaign.
I have to be honest, gullible me, I almost fell for it. I almost believed that Arsenal were going to be “as aggressive as possible” to quote the infant Kroenkster but when Aston Villa out manoeuvred Arsenal to the signature of Emi Buendia, it was clear that nothing much had changed. Arsenal supporters are used to seeing transfer targets slip from their grasp as other clubs hit the accelerator and appear more determined to get their business done and it all had that ‘Deja Vu’ feel about it.
Yves Bissouma would be a great asset and is reasonably priced at around £40m, but for that, you would get a tried and tested Premier League performer that has immense potential to be a massive star at the Emirates, but it would seem that Arsenal are interested in Albert Sambi Lokonga (Anderlecht). Why? Because he’s half the price. Not that Lokonga isn’t a good player, he most certainly is but even with the glowing endorsement of Thierry Henry, Arsenal are trying to go cheap by going under the club’s valuation.
Now I’m not averse to a bargain and I don’t want Arsenal to pay Pepe prices (that was very un-Arsenal), but if they are to become a football force again, they need to act differently and employ a direct and positive transfer policy that aggressively secures targets early doors.
Part of the reason Arsenal are now a mid-table side is poor recruitment and another is the almost random way they’ve gone about their business. There’s no logic in the offer of £40m plus £1 to trigger the release clause of Luis Suarez in 2013 and then spend £72m on Pepe, a player that most considered was worth half of that fee.
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The riddle continues, Arsenal bought William Saliba for £27m, which at the time was seen as a bargain for potentially a world-class defender but the Frenchman couldn’t buy a game, whereas Gabriel waltzed straight into the side with an eighth of the reputation. Now Arsenal are looking to spend up to £50m on Brighton’s Ben White, who has emerged over a season as a very credible talent. It makes absolutely no sense.
Arsenal need to plug the gaps in their ranks with quality, but quality comes at a price. There’s nothing wrong with firm negotiations as long as the transfer targets are acquired promptly for in or around the market valuation, instead of trying to constantly penny-pinch.
Apparently, they are locked into discussions with many clubs for up to five players but how many of those deals will get over the finish line, that’s the question.